Review: Madonna: Songs of Mary by Xara

Christmas expressed in the spine-tingly, soul-touching sound of Halifax's premier young women's choir

I don’t know a lot about music, but I know what I like, and I like the otherworldly sound of Xara. The Christmas offering, Madonna: Songs of Mary was performed in front of a packed house (500 people!) in the gorgeously ornate St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. The audience let the last stunning note hang momentarily in the air before rising en masse to shower Xara and its sister/parent choir Camerata with thunderous applause. The evening showcased more traditional music than some of Xara’s other shows, but included some of the expected choreographed movements such as a measured processional to the front of the church, and a dramatically staged “Mary’s Song.” Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” with accompaniment by Ellen Gibling on harp was magical, as was Camerata’s world premier of “O Magnum Mysterium” by young Halifax composer Matthew Lee. In fact, this was a entirely magical evening that has this reviewer eagerly awaiting news of future Xara concerts.

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